Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The season's are changing - Cross is coming!

Sitting in bed all day today, trying to ward off the beginnings of the first cold I'll have had in a very very long time, I thought it was time for an update. There's only so much of a story that Instagram photo's & tweets can tell!

My road season pretty much wrapped up after I raced the BC Superweek series of races, in and around Vancouver. This was early July, which I can't believe was already 2 months ago, but hey, time flies when you're having fun - right?!Originally the plan was to finish off the season with the last of the USA crits series in August, however because I'd been struggling with form and having a hard time with racing, I decided to pull the plug and reset.

Abigail & I waiting out the storm that was about to hit during our GA State Champs Crit.
 I have done a few smaller/more local races around Georgia and South Carolina, however every week the amount of riding I've done has gone down, and I'm really going with the 'less is more' philosophy. The real test of that comes in just 2 days time, where I will line up on the start line of Cross Vegas. The highest ranked CX race, outside of Europe, with the biggest and strongest field they've ever had. And I haven't raced CX since the Rapha Supercross 2 years ago, when I borrowed Straussy's Surly 5 minutes before the start of the race and jumped on in. Before that, I did about 4 CX races in 2011, only the 2nd year that cross was even raced in Aus! Talk about throwing myself in the deep end, however that's how I roll - just check my 2010 archives where I raced in Europe after only 1 ever NRS race.. I'm hoping this one is a bit more fun than Krasna Lipa though..

Supercross, 2012, The last time I raced CX!
What are my plans, when I get home? I don't know for sure. There will be working involved, settling down again and getting in to a routine. I will ride, and run, and exercise, but I'm not going to lock myself in to any commitments to race any big races. Not yet anyway. Outside of the adventures and laughs with my team mates, racing hasn't been fun for me since my accident at the start of the year. If it's not fun, then why do it?
Riding in Colorado - Shorts, Sleeves, Socks - All rolled for maximum tanning.

So, I'll do another update, along with the biggest list of thanks ever, after Cross Vegas..

Until then

Fellow 'Dowd Hotel' resident, Anita and I after a nice pedal in the GA heat

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life udpate!

So what the hell has been happening?? So much!

Here's the overview -

America is awesome. The people, the places, the weather. The food. Oh, the food.

The racing is fast and furious, and mostly fun. There's a few gremlins in my head still, but I know the 'spark' is still there.

There's been plenty of crits, and a few road races. I managed to win a sprint jersey & come 2nd overall at the SRS Albany race, round 1 of a series, however unfortunately I'm not going to be able to defend as the team will be at North Star GP in Minneapolis.

We raced last weekend at the Parx Casino Philly Classic, which didn't go as well as hoped, but it was a pretty awesome experience. The crowds were amazing. 'The Wall' was insane. For the Melbournites - picture Yarra St, but stretch it a good 3 x longer. Repeat 5 times at race pace, entering from close to a standstill due to the technical turns beforehand. Yep, ouch.

Then it was off to Canada for the GP Cyclist Gatineau, another UCI 1.1, things improved for this one and the team worked amazingly and Flavia managed to get in the winning break. A photo finish later and she was announced 2nd! I tried to help Joanie for the sprint, and moved her up, where she managed to take 11th. Happy days!

Now we're in Minneapolis, Minnesota ahead of the North Star GP (used to be Nature Valley). It's an NRC race and all the top teams are set to be there so it should be good fun! It's been so long since I did a proper stage race, it'll be interesting to see how the legs go over 5 days, 1 x TT, 2 x Road Races & 3x Crits! Let's hope this year there aren't any tornado's to cause stage cancellations....

Walking in to a host house with a good coffee machine, everyone sighs in relief.


It's official. Chipolte post mountains ride beats Moes - any day.

Loving the riding here!

Just some post ride snake wrangling... ummmm... MERICA
At least the long car journey to Canada was done in relative comfort!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where has the time gone? 3 weeks in the US already!

It's hard to believe that I left Aus 3 weeks ago.. Since being here I've already raced 6 times, across 3 different states, spent about 25-30 hours in the car traveling to said races, met some amazing people and ridden in some beautiful places!

Instead of a blow by blow, here's more of a picture blog - 

My new training grounds, just outside of Athens Georgia. Beautiful country roads everywhere!

The 'pond' out the back of where I'm living.

The view from out the back deck. Such a great spot, I love it here!

First ride, first coffee stop. Jittery Joes, an Athens institution!

First ride with the team, pre Charlotte Crit

Whole Foods = Heaven.

I've been so luck to have been able to stay with some amazing host families already. The Tussey's from Winston Salem had a beautiful house, set on a Golf Course.

The Men's & Women's race are run on the same courses right after each other. It means the fans get to see more racing and the festival can be made much bigger!

It's ok, I've found my favourite apples!

Cafe/Bakery in Winston Salem, needless to say, this is where most of the riders ended up.

Some dirt road action out the back of Watkinsville

Chipolte! YES!
Posing at the Athens Twilight Crit, watching the men's race.
Big group shot from pre Athens Twilight Dinner!
The Twilight weekend contingent at the Dowd Hostel for itinerant cyclists

Blue skies, smooth roads = happy cyclist

Up next is the rest of 'Speed Week'. There's 3 more races to go, and whilst I'm still struggling a little with my post accident phobia of being in the bunch, I'm hopeful that things will keep improving with each race!

From there we have a bit of a break in our racing schedule, and I'm super excited to get some time at 'home', suss out the local riding a bit more and do more than just a few 1-2hr reco rides. Really keen to head up north a little to ride some of the Georgia Mountains with some of my awesome team mates!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Exciting News!

Well, finally all the paperwork is done.. The Visa is approved, the flights booked, the International Licence is in the mail, so it’s time to announce my exciting plans for 2014!

This year I’ve been lucky enough to sign for the Georgia based Garneau Factory Team - http://lgfactoryteam.com/
I head off in just over 2 weeks, and whilst the form is lacking after my broken collarbone incident, I’m excited to get over there and to experience the amazing race culture I’ve heard so much about from all my friends who’ve raced there! I'm sure I'll get race fit pretty quick after what I've heard of how fast the crits are!

Plus, anyone that knows me, will know that the team kit is perfect for me -

Follow the team blog on our website, or the team twitter @LGFactoryTeam, for up to date info and race reports. I’ll still be blogging and keeping you updated on here too, and trying to keep a bit more consistency in updates over the 6 months that I’ll be away!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Well, in the absence of my getting to do any racing, how about a little write up of my adventurous weekend?
Thursday last week marked the 4 week point since I had surgery to repair my broken collarbone. This weekend just gone happened to be the Oceania Championships, a race which I had been targeting and hoping to race with the team in the goal of us taking home the win. These factors added to some others, and I needed to get away. To do something a little silly. So after an 8am conference call at work, I headed home, packed a small musette, some food, and my credit card + myki card, and off I went. Destination – Bairnsdale.

Packing light
The plan was to catch the 10.44 train from Caulfield to Traralgon, and to pootle my way 75k east to Stratford, then jump on the train to finish in Bairnsdale. This was ‘Plan A’, and the smartest move given my limited riding since the surgery. Getting to Caulfield I hit the first hurdle. The little bag I had with my credit card and myki was still sitting on the bench at home. FAIL. Back home I went, and considered not going until Saturday morning, yet I grabbed everything I needed and headed back to the station to catch the train an hour later having just added 20mins to my total ride time for the day, and given myself a much tighter deadline for arriving to Stratford.
Take 2 at the Station...
Arriving in Traralgon, it was damp, and getting damper.. But there was nothing to do, but to get on my bike and go! Heading the back way through Heyfield & Maffra, I was making ripping progress thanks to a very stiff Westerly wind that was with my for about 75% of the journey.

Yep, it was wet, but Yep, I was still smiling!

Lots of long straight roads, perfect when the wind direction is in your favour!

By Heyfield the rain had stopped and the clouds were starting to part, and I couldn’t stop smiling! I made it to Stratford in plenty of time to catch the train, but with the sun shining and a quick look at the flags blowing the direction I was about to turn, I made the decision to push on the final 55k.

Quick stop in Stratford for some Paleo Sweet Potato muffins that I made to fuel my ride
This time I took the most direct route, on the highway, as there was a shoulder at least 1-2m wide the whole way and I knew I would be safe. Still ticking along at a decent pace, but I was starting to fatigue. I hadn’t ridden longer than 2h 45 since the accident, so things were starting to hurt. The hardest part about the country cycling is the fact that you just don’t stop pedalling. There’s no lights to have a rest at every few hundred metres like on Beach Rd! The rough/dead roads don’t help much either.. Regardless, I pushed on, and made it to Bairnsdale just in time to catch my parents closing up the shop and getting to surprise them with my arrival!

#countrylyf is pretty nice sometimes

After chowing down on as much dinner as I could fit in, and chilling out for a bit, it was off for an early night and the best night sleep I’ve had in a couple of weeks.. I wonder why?!

Chooky trying to steal my food.. Lucky she lays amazing eggs or I might have tried to eat her for dinner!

I was feeling it the next day, so I decided just to do a shorter ride and to then finish in Lakes Entrance where I met mum and dad for lunch and some wandering around the town. A nice relaxed late start to the ride and a pretty awesome day. Just what was needed. The inevitable post big ride day ‘permahunger’ had hit by then though, and I couldn’t stop eating. Mum was heard to comment to dad ‘I’m glad we don’t have to feed her every day!’ .. As Loz Rowney and I would often say - #thegirlcaneat. 
I even managed to get mum to do some alterations to the 1 jersey I had there with me, taking it in so I didn’t have to pin it!
Another good nights sleep and I woke to a perfect morning. Warm sun and clear skies, which had me sitting out in the back yard not wanting to move. Coffee and Breakfast (a-MAY-zing fresh eggs from ‘chookie’) outside and I contemplated not riding that day and just catching the late train back...

Ready to set off on the homeward journey. Sun's shining!

But I was on an adventure and had a plan! So at 10.15 I rolled out the door to ride the ~3hrs back to Sale to catch the train home.

More long straight roads.. 

Depending on how things went, I had a backup plan that would see me going a further 30k to Rosedale, and with the assistance of only a light headwind and a determined attitude, that’s what I ended up doing.
Rosedale Station.. Waiting for the train!
It was a stunning day, and whilst the addition of a tailwind would have made things perfect, I was pretty happy with where I was at. A quick stop at the IGA for some food to stop me from hunger flatting on the train, and I was set. The adventure continued though, when I found out I couldn’t use myki further out than Traralgon, and that I only had enough cash on me to get to Clayton which meant an extra 5k on the journey. Oh well, it was sunny! Just getting in extra k’s..

Rolling in the door at 5pm, guzzling some food & having a much needed shower, I was quickly off to dinner to catch up with some friends I feel that I haven’t seen anywhere near enough of lately. It capped off a pretty damn good weekend!
So next time you feel like doing something a little bit crazy, just do it. It’s probably exactly what you need!
Smiling inside, but cooked on the outside!

Road Kill Count for the weekend -
3 Kangaroo
5 Wombats
6 Foxes
10+ Possum/Rabbit
1 carcass that had decayed so bad, my eyes watered and I couldn't determine what it was...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'm still here!

As is common, it's been a while between updates.. Since being sick in early December, the team has had a solid block of racing, including the LSL Supercrit, Bay Crits, Nationals, and then the Tour Down Under Santos Women's Cup.
Post race coffee with Kimbers! @LSL Supercrit
For a blow by blow on all of the racing, head over to the team blog - http://specializedsecuritor.blogspot.com.au/ Some written by me, some by other members of the team, so a good varied perspective!
Warming up for Bay crits
Just like the Bundy days 'Safety First!'
For me, things perked up a little after being sick, but I was still no where near where I wanted to be by the time Jan 2nd and the first race at Bay Crits rolled around. I had a really disappointing 4 days, grovelling to just stay with the race as opposed to last year being involved in all of last years races. I tried to dust myself off for Nationals, and things did pick up, getting through the crit easily, however with a distinct lack in confidence which made me a very placid participant. The road race started out ok, by half way through I was feeling alright, yet the 6th time up the climb a small crash happened in front of me which resulted in needing to unclip. Didn't panic, however an attack went at the same time, and the chase back on hurt. It pretty much used up all I had, and so when we hit the climb on the 7th time and the attacks started, I was out the back. Found a small group and made it to the finish, disappointed but at the same time accepting that based on how I'd been riding a week earlier, it was an ok result.

Onwards and Upwards was my motto for the following week, which included some fun rides with James and Jake before they headed off to Europe to start their season in France. The body seemed to be responding to the racing well, and it made me keen as to get to Adelaide and race again.

I headed over on the 46 degree day to get there early and get some treatment for the crooked feeling I've been having. John at the Smart Centre in Adelaide squeezed me in and set about straightening me out. I had a fun ride with the crew from Bike Society, John, the Melbourne Specialized girls and guys, Hannah GG, Carla followed by Coffee down by the beach in Glenelg, and then went out with Carlee & Vale to Greenhill road, just because I could! One of the funnest nights/BBQ's i've been to in a long time Friday for Hannah's 21st, and I was loving life and things were grand.
Double Parked on the Slurpee's trying to cool down in the 40+ Heat
Team ride pre race in Adelaide along the beautiful Adelaide beach
The rest of the team arrived on Saturday and Sunday to race, and we had a nice team roll, chill out and then headed in to the center of Adelaide to hit the course! I thought I was feeling good, and managed to get myself right up the front for the start, only to discover I'd picked up something in my tyre in the warm up and had a flat. 5 mins before the start. Shimano Spares to the rescue, and I got a spare wheel in with about a minute to spare. It took me about 10 minutes to work into the race, and just as I was starting to feel good and move back up to where I needed to be, a crash happened that wiped across the road. I aimed wide around it, but was cleaned up from the side/behind and went charging into the barriers, landing on my shoulder. It wasn't obvious to start with, however I knew something wasn't right. I'd had the wave of 'I need to sit down or I'm going to pass out or vomit' before.. 3.5 years ago when I broke my collarbone. Off in the Ambulance with a green whistle, and a couple of hours later it was confirmed I'd broken it again.
And that was the end of my TDU week plans. My next 8 weeks worth of plans to be exact..
The team all together before the last race of the Adelaide series.. With me as chief supporter
Thanks to the help of some amazing friends, I was lined up with a leading shoulder surgeon in Melbourne within a couple of days. More amazing friends drove my car home for me, so I could fly back to have surgery. I was dropped off at the hospital, picked up the next day, taken for breakfast & lunch, and then delivered safely back home to sleep off the surgery and pain. I am so grateful for the people in my life who've helped me this past 2 weeks. From the help getting home and patched up, the messages of support, the offers of 'a hand' & for just generally keeping me occupied and laughing whilst I can't ride my bike. Thank you :-)

And of course thank you so much to our sponsors - Specialized, Securitor, Capo & Adidas Eyewear. Lizzie Pou our Team Manager who puts in hours of work to organise everything for us, and Mick & Peter Pou who are always there to cheer! (when Petey isn't sleeping of course..)
The crash.. that on the left is my leg and bike....

Another Angle.. Blatantly stolen photo.. So inelegant, yet it brought lots of laughs to me..